Saturday, 11 April 2009

Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt Endorses Laurel Hallman for UUA President

Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt has endorsed Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman for UUA President on her Rev. Rose blog. There are a few snippets of Rev. Bray McNatt's endorsement that I find quite interesting and worth commenting on. Here goes. . .

:Those of us who love this faith owe Bill an enormous debt of gratitude for making credible a liberal religious voice amid the conservative noise that passes for public debate.

Just how credible a voice for liberal religion UUA President Bill Sinkford is or was is open to some debate. . .

:In his strategic commitment to speaking faithfully, Bill changed the game for Unitarian Universalism’s public witness.

From where I stand, and from where other people stand, President Bill Sinkford has spoken rather less than faithfully on a number of issues. In fact, as far as I am concerned President Sinkford has demonstrated considerable bad faith and has repeatedly proven himself to be an outrageous hypocrite.

:Today, our faith once again provides respected testimony to our liberal values.

Really? Who are all these people who respect President Bill Sinkford's testimony of the "liberal values" of the U*U movement?

:Hearing Unitarian Universalists speak truth to power is expected — even assumed.

That's funny I could have sworn that UUA President Bill Sinkford, and no shortage of other UUA leaders, have turned deaf ears to Unitarian*Universalists speaking truth to power. . .

:It’s time once again for Unitarian Universalists to elect a religious professional to lead our movement into the 21st century. Yet the urgent work that faces our association is very different now than it was when Bill chose to run for the presidency. As liberal religious people, we are called now, more than ever, to be both articulate in naming the brokenness of this world and effective in the work of healing our world. That’s why I am supporting The Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman as the next President of our Association.

Really. . . Well I sure hope that Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman will be both articulate in naming the brokenness of the U*U World and effective in the work of healing your U*U World Rev. Bray McNatt. I will know soon enough how articulate and effective she is when it comes to the aspects of brokeness that I will bring her attentiuon to shortly and I certainly look forward to Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman's articulate response to the Open Letter About Clergy Sexual Misconduct that the Denominational Affairs Committee sent her and Rev. Peter Morales recently. For the record that Open Letter would likely have been quite unnecessary if Rev. Bill Sinkford hadn't miserably failed, and apparently even obstinately refused. . . to deal responsibly with clergy sexual misconduct during his eight year term as UUA President. N'est-ce pas Rev. Rose?

:In his brilliant Ware Lecture from 2008, the African American community activist Van Jones spoke about the next level of insight, awareness and activism that we must embrace as human beings living on this fragile and endangered planet. And one of his themes—not unique to us as UUs, but so very relevant for us—is that it’s not enough to have a critique; you have to have a plan.

Well I don't see either of the UUA Presidential candidates critiquing the UUA's negligent, incompetent and effectively complicit mishandling of clergy misconduct complaints. What plans do they have to address that serious issue to say nothing of other aspects of U*U brokeness?

:I am supporting Laurel because she has a plan, not a critique of how awful/unprepared/inept we are.

Oh dear I guess that Rev. Rosemary McNatt Bray won't be endorsing The Emerson Avenger as UUA President or indeed Rev. Peter Morales who obviously got her back up with his blunt critiques of how awful, unprepared and inept U*Us are. . . So Rev. Rose can you fill us in on just what Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman's plan is to responsibly deal with how awful, unprepared and inept many leaders of the U*U movement, including top level UUA officials such as Rev. Beth Miller and Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris just for starters? I guess she can breathe a sigh of relief that Rev. Dr. Tracey Robinson-Harris decided to leave the sinking U*U Ship Of Fools before she could possibly face any accountability from the next UUA President, not that there is any guarantee that any of the awful and/or unprepared and/or inept administrators at the UUA will actually face any real accountability when the awful, unprepared and inept Rev. Bill Sinkford is replaced as UUA President by either Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman or Rev. Peter Morales assuming he does better than a snowball in Hell. . .

:Laurel has a plan that takes Unitarian Universalism to the next level of insight and influence, based on her decades of experience, not only as a parish minister, not only as a brilliant fundraiser, but also as a committed community organizer working with

I have to admit that, besides rather less than diplomatically critiquing just how awful, unprepared and inept U*Us are, to say nothing how tiny, declining, and fringy the U*U religion is these days. . . Rev. Peter Morales has not done a very good job of presenting his plan for how he intends to grow the U*U movement from the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" religion that he acknowledges it is today into "the religion of our time" in *our* time. In spite of repeated requests from your's truly that he articulate his plan. OTOH I have not seen Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman's clearly articulated *plan* for how she intends to take Unitarian*Universalism to "the next level of insight and influence" as you put it. Could you be so kind as to direct me to where I can read her detailed plan?

:Those of us who have been exposed to the community-organizing model know intimately that it’s never about talk, because talk is cheap.

You don't need to tell me or any other victim of U*U clergy misconduct, or various other injustices and abuses perpetrated and perpetuated by U*Us, just how cheap talk is Rev. Bray McNatt. . .

:Those of us who know community organizing know that it’s never about what a single person can do, but about what a committed group can do when it works together to hold powerful people accountable.

So just which group is holding powerful people within the U*U World and UUA accountable Rev. Rose? Please direct me to this group because I know some powerful people, at least within the context of the U*U movement, who need to be held accountable for their failures and misdeeds. Can you let us in on what Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman's plan is for holding powerful U*Us who have misused and abused their power accountable?

:Most importantly, those of us who know community organizing have seen what can happen when a collaborative leader brings together people who are so different that they shouldn’t even be able to stand next to each other. We know that amazing things happen when such disparate people unite in a common purpose!

Well I look forward to Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman bringing victims of clergy misconduct of all kinds together with the awful U*U ministers who are directly accountable for that misconduct, the awful and/or unprepared and/or inept UUA administrators and other U*U church leaders who failed or refused to hold those awful U*U ministers accountable for their clergy misconduct.

:Bill Sinkford’s exemplary success in leading Unitarian Universalism has served to raise the bar for liberal religious leadership itself.

UUA President Bill Sinkford’s leadership of the "tiny, declining, fringe religion" known as Unitarian*Universalism aka the U*U Movement is neither as exemplary or successgful as you and other U*Us would like to believe Rev. Rose. Just how has Rev. Bill Sinkford served to raise the bar for liberal religious leadership when it comes to U*U religious leaders like Rev. Ray Drennan, Rev. Victoria Weinstein aka Peacebang, Rev. Cynthia P. Cain, Rev. Dr. Timothy W. Jensen and other awful and/or unprepared and/or inept U*U clergy? Pray tell. . .

:We have traveled beyond the point where our movement can empower religious leaders who often talk a good game, but in the end hesitate to change the game.

ROTFLMU*UO! You empowered Rev. William G. Sinkford didn't you Rev. Rose? Do you*really* believe that President Bill Sinkford didn't talk a good game, but in the end hesitate to change the game, when it came to the UUA's (mis)handling of clergy misconduct and holding awful and/or unprepared and/or inept U*U clergy accountable for their "less than excellent" ministry?

:I am impatient with those leaders in our movement who participate in press conferences and public actions that make liberal religious people feel good, but leave those we oppose feeling angry or dismissive, and leave those unfamiliar with our faith—the movable middle—feeling both unmoved and unchanged.

ROTFLMU*UO again! Do you *really* believe that President Bill Sinkford didn't participate in press conferences and public actions that make liberal religious people feel good, but left those U*Us oppose (to say nothing of a good number of good U*Us) feeling angry or dismissive? What planet are you living on Rev. Rose? Certainly not the U*U World. . .

:I support Laurel because she knows very well how to argue with people like the late Jerry Falwell, or how to get face time with people like President Bill Clinton, (for the record, she’s done both!)

Woo hoo! Good for Rev. Laurel Hallman. I must admit that that sure beats President Bill Sinkford's misguided effort get some red-faced time, to say nothing of two-faced time. . . with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that left a good number of indignant U*Us feeling angry or dismissive.

:But she also knows, and will institutionalize, ways to build capacity in the tiniest congregation, ways to support the midsize congregations that are betwixt and between, ways to challenge large congregations to step forward for our faith. Even more important, Laurel knows how to support all our congregations as they work strategically within their own communities, so that our congregations become known as trusted partners in the work of justice, so that real and lasting change occurs.

So what will Rev. Laurel Hallman do to make the UUA and U*U congregations partners in the long overdue work of providing genuine and tangible restorative justice for victims of clergy misconduct of all kinds so that real and lasting change occurs?

:Most of all, I support Laurel because I feel in her presence what I feel in Bill Sinkford’s presence: a deep knowledge of The Holy, and a deep commitment to Unitarian Universalism as a liberal religious faith as opposed to some random nonprofit group.

So where was Rev. Bill Sinkford’s *presence* and alleged "deep knowledge of The Holy" when it came to dealing responsibly with the clergy misconduct of "less than excellent" aka awful U*U ministers Rev. Rose? I saw little or no sign of it myself. . .

:I resonate deeply with those within our movement like Laurel who find depth, strength and focus in a consistent religious practice, and whose spirituality grounds the work they accomplish.

You mean a consistent religious practice like totally ignoring people demanding justice for victims of clergy misconduct Rev. Rose? Come to think of it. . . that seems to be the consistent religious practice of you and other members of the UUA Board of Trustees as well.

:I have confidence that when Laurel leads—even when I disagree with her—she will lead from the core of our Living Tradition, that she will support religious leaders like myself in the work of justice and peace, and that she will call on each and every one of us to reach deeper and do more.

Oh I don't doubt that Rev. Laurel Hallman will be asking each and every U*U to reach deeper, especially in light of the UUA's current financial situation that is due in no small measure to unprepared and inept, if not downright awful. . . UUA planning (and not just financial planning by any means) during Rev. Bill Sinkford's tenure as UUA President.

:Laurel leads with the spirit of a pastor, the focus of a seasoned executive and the insight of the community activist that she’s been for more than 20 years. She has my unqualified support, and I hope you will join me in voting for her at our next General Assembly.

I look forward to seeing just how well Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman leads with the spirit of a pastor, the focus of a seasoned executive, and the insight of the community activist when I and other people demand genuine and tangible restorative justice for ALL victims of clergy misconduct after the UUA elections.

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